Aging, Wellness

Make My Brain Great Again

The current grey skies match my little grey cells for their gloom.  I don’t want to be one of those little old ladies who needs her grandson to help with technology.  Or who doesn’t know who today’s stars are.  I don’t want to be irrelevant.  But –

1.I can’t find my eyeglasses even though I’m wearing them.

2.I loose my keys constantly.

3. I have no idea what your name is right now unless I get a hint.

With all the talk about Alzheimer’s, worry about memory is, well, a worry.  But it’s not just forgetfulness that scares me; it’s the ability to learn and stay current in a world, during a time that is changing in complicated ways.

How do I make my brain great again?  And if not great, because really it never was, how do I make, keep my brain facile?

Do those Brain games work?

Short answer, yes and no.   They work to improve the task you’re playing with.  If you are playing a game to increase your memory using a concentration board then you will increase your memory using a concentration board, however, there is no evidence that your generalised memory will improve. If you are using
Soduko to improve your analytic ability, you will improve analytically with regard to Soduko, but it doesn’t carry over.   So, do they help?  Yes, but not in the way we hope.

What does work?

 

Recently studies about all the new brain technology are too inconclusive. Scientists have difficulty agreeing on the efficacy of the experiments, but they do  agree on three ways to increase and improve our brain skills into  old age;

  1. Exercise.  Forty-five minutes a day.  Sorry but that’s the number one method.
  2. Social interaction.  Make friends.  Be a friend.  Have lots of conversations about lots of stuff with friends.
  3. Learn new things.   The reason games don’t work is because they only work one small task but learning something new uses the whole of the brain.  This also helps with having lots of conversation about lots of stuff.      My life is busy how do I learn something new?

Isn’t the internet great?  I mean this is the easiest of the three because the internet is filled with free online courses from reputable schools. They are self-paced, so these courses won’t become another pressure in an already pressured life.  There are a wide variety so I can find subjects that really interest me.  Right now I’m taking courses in communication and Christian apologetics from Harvard.  Last fall I took a course in Churchill’s leadership from Hillsdale College.  All of them are free, but the reward has been huge.

Help.  How do I find these courses?

Here’s a couple places to stop by and check out.

*EdX.  “Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, EdX is an online learning destination and MOOC provider, offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere”.

They have courses from Artificial Intelligence to Stravinsky;  from engineering to poetry.  They have classes to improve your leadership skills or understand the ethics of eating.  I felt smarter just looking over their 1273 courses.

Added bonus, many of these courses are certificate bearing, so I can use them to improve my job skills.

*Openculture also has over 1200 course.  Openculture offers more multimedia courses with less formality. It’s a combination of cultural and traditional class.   From opera to childrearing, even learn a new language, it’s all free.

Choosing topics that interest me keep me involved.  It’s easy to replace 30 minutes of TV or Pinterest with something that I’ve always wanted to learn and my little grey cells are active.
Now, if I could only find the time to exercise.
As always,
Beth

15 Comments

  1. I had a long chat with a friend this weekend about all of this. Luminosity, learning new languages, learning to play new instruments, and things as simple as driving a different way home from the grocery store.
    I need to step it up. I’ve watched my aging parents – – 83 and 77 – – and they are so cognitively with it thanks to all of these sorts of things.

    Reply
  2. I’ve noticed that when I spend too much time in my head, particularly after being at the computer writing, my ability to relate to people in real life takes a hit. It’s as if I’m on a 2-second time delay when it comes to conversations; I’m just a beat behind because I’m still “editing” what I’m going to say, like I do when I’m writing. Which speaks to why it’s important to socialize!

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  3. Excellent insights. I appreciated your comments on the value of brain games; I had often wondered the same thing. I will be happy trying to keep my brain active in other ways. 🙂

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  4. I love Edx! I have always done the exact same thing. Since I was in my twenty’s and a stay at home going crazy. I would take online classes which were really through the mail courses, but it kept me sane then why not now!

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